Your last family get-together was frustrating. Not because of any intra-family episode (though there’s always some of that). No, the problem was that you couldn’t hear anything over the loud noise of the room. So you didn’t get the opportunity to ask about Dave’s new cat or Sally’s new job. It was frustrating. You try to play it off as if the acoustics of the room are the problem. But you can’t completely discount the possibility that perhaps your hearing is beginning to go bad.
It can be incredibly difficult to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, generally, it’s not suggested). But there are some early red flags you should keep on your radar. When enough red flags appear, it’s time to make an appointment with us for a hearing test.
Early signs of hearing loss
The majority of the symptoms of hearing loss are subtle. But if you happen to see your own situation reflected in any of the items on the following list, you just might be experiencing some level of hearing loss.
Here are some of the most prevalent early signs of hearing loss:
- You keep asking people to repeat themselves. If you find yourself asking numerous people to talk slower, speak louder, or repeat what they said, this is especially true. You might not even recognize you’re making such frequent requests, but it can definitely be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
- A friend points out that your media devices are getting increasingly louder. Perhaps the volume on your mobile phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or perhaps, your TV speakers are as loud as they go. Normally, you’re not the one that notices the loud volume, it’s your kids, possibly your neighbor, or your friends.
- It’s suddenly very challenging to understand phone calls: People do a lot of texting nowadays, so you may not take as many phone calls as you once did. But you may be encountering another early warning sign if you’re having difficulty understanding the calls you do take.
- You notice that some sounds become oppressively loud. You may or may not encounter this but if you do, keep in mind that it can be an early warning of hearing loss. If you are experiencing this issue, particularly if it lingers, it’s time for a hearing exam.
- You hear ringing in your ears: This ringing (it can actually be other sounds too) is called tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t always linked to hearing issues, but it is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing assessment is probably needed.
- You discover it’s difficult to make out certain words. This warning sign frequently shows up because consonants are starting to sound similar, or at least, becoming harder to differentiate. The “sh” and “th” sounds are the most common examples. But another typical example is when the “s” and “f” sounds become confused.
- High-pitched sounds are getting lost. Perhaps you just realized your teapot was screeching after five minutes. Or perhaps the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Hearing loss generally affects particular frequencies usually higher pitched frequencies.
- You have a difficult time hearing conversations in a busy or noisy location. This is often an early sign of hearing loss.
Get a hearing exam
No matter how many of these early red flags you may encounter, there’s really only one way to know, with confidence, whether your hearing is going bad: get a hearing exam.
You might be experiencing hearing loss if you are experiencing any one of these symptoms. And if any impairment exists, a hearing assessment will be able to identify how far gone it is. And then you’ll be better prepared to find the right treatment.
This will help you have a much more enjoyable time at that next family get-together.